Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to welcome you all at the EU Resource Mobilization and Management Training, "Working with the European Union as a Resource Partner", which is a collaborative effort by FAO RAP, TCSR and CSPL to take advantage of the funding opportunities offered by the EU for the achievement of FAO’s strategic objectives in the RAP region, while ensuring due compliance with both FAO and EU rules.
The new Organization-wide culture and enhanced capacity for resource mobilization clarifies the accountability chain for mobilizing resources and ensures better management through a coordinated approach, at all levels. As a result, I expect that this training will strengthen management capacity for the identification of and the successful response to EU funding opportunities at all levels. At the same time, it aims to strengthen the technical and operational skills/capacities at RAP/CO levels for safe, efficient and successful project implementation.
In this opportunity, I wish to convey our sincere gratitude to HQs colleagues for their efforts in arranging this workshop.
The prospects for FAO-EU cooperation in the Asia/Pacific region
The prospects for FAO-EU cooperation in the Asia/Pacific region are much better today than they have been before in view of the fact that 10 countries in this region have selected “Agriculture and/or Food Security” as the priority sectors for funding from the new 2014-20 EU budget. The 10 countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Kiribati and Vanuatu.
We also learned that the European Commission is committed to spend worldwide about € 2 billion or 22% of its entire annual external aid budget on “Agriculture and/or Food Security”.
While the opportunities for EU resource mobilization have thus improved for the region, there are also new challenges from the operational point of view, due to recent changes in EU management modalities and related changes in contractual terms and conditions. In this regard, we understand that the FAFA does not longer apply to project agreements proceeding from “calls for proposals” (globally around 20-30% of our EU-funded business).
In order for FAO to take full advantage of the new opportunities with EU, while taking into account the new challenges that have emerged in recent months, FAO country offices obviously have a critical role to play at country level, with the support from technical and operational colleagues in Bangkok and in Rome.
Past experience has evidenced that there is much scope for improvement of the quality of project proposals presented by FAO, for funding consideration by the Commission, and also for improving the quality of the Organization’s implementation and reporting in order to avoid the risk of ineligible expenditures and sub-optimal project results. This is especially true now, when the FAFA agreement is no longer valid.
In this regard, I would like to stress the importance of enhancing the competencies of relevant colleagues at the regional office and at country level to effectively play their roles in this process. It is absolutely essential that you have more intimate knowledge of the specific development issues, opportunities and challenges to be addressed when building on the past and ongoing work of FAO in the region.
In closing, I wish to thank the colleagues and the external resource person for your dedicated efforts and inputs in preparing this workshop. I wish you a successful workshop and fruitful outcomes which would lead to a concrete and practical action plan towards the realization of the endeavor. I also wish you an enjoyable stay in Bangkok.